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Blasted & the importance of content warnings

Okay.

CW: suicide

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I just read Sarah Kane’s Blasted for the first time. Like, I finished it five minutes ago.

I wanna hurl.

If there ever was a play that needs content warnings, this one is it.

This play really fucked me up. And not in the fun, wow theatre is so crazy and cool way. This play dug into some sick parts of humanity, and therefore, some sick parts of me. And though it’s been years since I’ve regularly thought about killing myself, this play shot me back in time to those feelings.

That’s fucked up. That’s not right.

 

Recently, there’s been a fascinating dialogue about the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why.” Some call it the glorification of suicide and self harm, other see a show that expresses their own feelings and inner life in a way that is liberating. I haven’t watched the show. Mostly because I don’t feel like revisiting those all-too-familiar feelings of my high school days. I don’t want to engage in that because I’m not quite far enough away to deal with it.

I made that choice because I had heard about the content and knew it would be too much for me to engage. I didn’t get that warning with Blasted. And even if I did, I would have had to read it anyway, for school.

So I read it.

 

I don’t ever want to see that play on stage. Ever. I don’t ever want to work on it. I don’t want to read it again. I don’t want to talk about it in class. Jesus, if last week’s discussion of Family Stories: Belgrade had me silently weeping I have no clue what Wednesday will look like. I don’t want any more violence.

Does that make me a bad artist? Am I not edgy enough for this shit? Am I just a big pathetic softy? Because when I read plays like this, something horrible happens in me and I dissociate my empathy muscle with the rest of my consciousness – I hit a point of violence saturation when I stop caring. I stop feeling.

I fucking hate that feeling.

I hate feeling like a monster. This play made me feel like a monster. I think that’s probably the point but still I really hate that and don’t wanna feel that way.

I guess I wonder if I’m weak or deficient or silly or childish to feel so incapacitated by violence. I guess I wonder if content warnings make me pathetic or a bad artist.

Because I feel like content warnings make me a happier, more stable person. And I have worked very, very, very hard to be this consistently happy, and I don’t want to fuck that up.

 

I guess I’m always afraid that being an artist means I have to put my art before my mental health. I don’t know how to turn by big, pathetic, empathetic heart off and it wrecks me every single time.

 

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